Seven French citizens, including four children who were kidnapped in Cameroon last week appear the video above.
A male hostage says the group was taken by Nigeria’s Boko Haram group, who are demanding the release of other members jailed in Nigeria and Cameroon.
“We have been taken by Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad,” one of the male hostages said in the video, referring to the name in Arabic of Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants. “They want the liberation of their brothers in Cameroon and their women imprisoned in Nigeria.”
The kidnapping on Tuesday of the seven French nationals in Cameroon’s far north, near the border with Nigeria, highlighted the risk to French citizens in Africa since Paris sent troops into Mali to oust Islamists there.
“The president of France has launched a war on Islam,” said one of the apparent kidnappers, warning the hostages would be killed if their demands were not met.
French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault confirmed that Boko Haram had kidnapped the family, saying they were probably being held in Nigeria.
“The video tape… is being studied by our [intelligence] services, who are examining precisely the nature of these claims,” he said. “French authorities are in close and permanent contact with Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities.”
A source close to the family confirmed the identities of the family members shown in the video to the AFP news agency. It was not clear when the video was made.
Cameroon’s communication minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary said he could not comment because his government was not aware of the video.
The governor of Cameroon’s Far North Region, Augustine Fonka Awa, said he was not aware of any Boko Haram members being held in the country.